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Chase Bank Usa, N.A v. Theodore W. Green


April 20, 2011


On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Middlesex County, L-5818-09.

Per curiam.


Submitted April 4, 2011

Before Judges Reisner and Alvarez.

Defendant Theodore W. Green appeals from a June 18, 2010 judgment for $27,784.12, in favor of plaintiff Chase Bank USA, N.A. We affirm.

These are the most pertinent facts. Plaintiff filed a complaint, based on its computerized account records, to collect defendant's unpaid credit card debt. Plaintiff filed a summary judgment motion returnable April 1, 2010, although the discovery period was not scheduled to expire until April 3. The motion was supported by legally competent evidence of the debt. Defendant filed opposition consisting of a certification generally denying that he owed the debt and questioning one of the credit card statements that plaintiff submitted in support of the motion.

By order dated April 30, 2010, Judge Phillip Lewis Paley granted summary judgment "as to liability only," because defendant did not deny that he used the credit cards and owed a debt, but he wished to question some of the specific charges. The judge extended discovery to June 3, 2010. At a conference on June 3, the judge gave defendant a further opportunity to specify in writing the charges to which he objected.

Defendant submitted a letter listing several specific entries on one bill, contending that he never did business with the companies identified in eight charges on that bill. In a letter opinion, dated June 18, 2010, Judge Paley gave defendant credit for those eight specific charges. He granted plaintiff judgment for the remaining amount sought.

On this appeal, defendant contends that he raised a material dispute of fact by claiming that he never bought anything from some of the companies or organizations reflected on his credit card bills. However, the judge recognized those specific charges defendant questioned and subtracted them from the judgment.

Defendant also contends that plaintiff never responded to his discovery demands. However, the record reflects that plaintiff supported its motion with copies of every monthly bill on which it based its claim. Further, by letter dated May 6, 2010, plaintiff provided defendant with copies of those documents, and defendant admitted that he received them.

Defendant's motion to compel discovery in the trial court did not specify what discovery was outstanding. Similarly, his appellate brief does not specify what discovery he propounded or what discovery he still needed to enable him to oppose the summary judgment motion. A vague and general claim that a party needs more discovery will not defeat an otherwise meritorious summary judgment motion. See Auster v. Kinoian, 153 N.J. Super. 52, 56 (App. Div. 1977).

We have reviewed the record de novo, as we are required to do on an appeal from a trial court's grant of summary judgment. Prudential Prop. & Cas. Ins. Co. v. Boylan, 307 N.J. Super. 162, 167 (App. Div.), certif. denied, 154 N.J. 608 (1998). Based on that review, we find that no material facts were in dispute.

Plaintiff provided its properly-authenticated business records to prove the debt. Except for the eight specific entries to which he objected, defendant offered only "empty allegations" in response to the motion. Garden State Bank v. Graef, 341 N.J. Super. 241, 246 (App. Div. 2001). Summary judgment was properly granted.



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